Gujjars of Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday demanded extension of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 to the state so that they too can enjoy rights on forest land as are available to the people belonging to Scheduled Tribe communities across the country.
Gujjars raised the issue at a programme organised by the Tribal Research and Cultural Foundation (TRCF) here today.
"A delegation of tribal community members under the banner of TRCF had met Governor N N Vohra a few days ago and sought his intervention in the matter," TRCF secretary Javaid Rahi said.
He said the act, if extended to Jammu and Kashmir, will give nomads the "title rights" of land being cultivated by tribal or forest-dwellers subject to a maximum of four hectares and "use rights" to minor forest produce.
"Currently nomadic tribes of the state have no rights on the forest lands as no identical law is in force... All other states of the country have implemented the Forest Rights Act," Rahi said.
He said the Gujjars and Bakerwals constitute 20 per cent of total population of the state and a sizeable chunk among them was landless and deserves dwelling rights on forest land which they have been using as traditional inhabitants for centuries.